Although the CFB season is still young, teams are beginning to show their true colors with each passing week. In week 3, a few top 25 schools showed some glaring inefficiencies that weeded them out of championship contention early. For spectators like myself, the CFB landscape is coming into perspective and programs around the country are starting to separate themselves from the rest. Without further adieu, itâ€™s time to pick apart these powerhouses with no holding back (Lane Kiffin).
#1 Alabama at Arkansas
Roll tide, roll. Or maybe more like run tide, run. AJ McCaron threw for under 200 yards, but the Crimson Tide cruised to a 52-0 embarrassment of the Razorbacks. It was more than a sad sight for Arkansas fans, and a case can be made that the program misses the presence of Bobby Petrino on the sidelines. Combine Alabamaâ€™s personnel superiority with the fact that Arkansas continually shot themselves in the foot, and you have a recipe for disaster. Bonehead mistakes including a long snap over the head of the punter to, in essence, start the scoring for Alabama made the lead insurmountable. Alabamaâ€™s ground attack was something to behold, with big Eddy Lacy scoring three times and each of the three featured backs averaging at least four yards per carry.
Alabama â€“ A++ (Clearly in the best position to run the table at this point)
#2 USC at #21 Stanford
As if Kiffinâ€™s comments on Barkleyâ€™s poor decision making following the loss werenâ€™t enough, he then took a shot at his offensive line. Kiffin said the line missed more assignments than â€œany offensive line group weâ€™ve ever had at any place weâ€™ve been.â€ As a result, Barkley was thrown around in the backfield and intercepted twice. Entering the season, Kiffin noted that Barkley struggled most with his decision making and you would have to think the matchup against Stanford was circled on the calendar considering Barkley is now 0-4 all time against the Cardinal. The Pac 12 is now wide open for teams to challenge Oregon, including UCLA.
USC â€“ F (Things donâ€™t get much easier for the Trojans from here)
Stanford â€“ A+ (Josh Nunes showed composure beyond his years)
#3 LSU vs. Idaho
#4 Oregon vs. Tennessee Tech
#5 Florida State vs. Wake Forest
#7 Georgia vs. Florida Atlantic
#8 South Carolina vs. UAB
#9 West Virginia vs. James Madison
Just a few notes from these blowouts:
â€¢ With the exception of Geno Smith and the Mountaineers, youâ€™ll have to stop the running attack if you want to compete against the others. Each team has more-than-serviceable quarterback play, but the passing game takes a backseat to ground and pound running.
â€¢ Since most CFB fans are under the assumption that Alabama will once again play for the national title, the rest of the SEC will be beating up on each other to, in theory, claim the second spot in the championship game. The Big 12 is a force to be reckoned with as well, with Geno Smith arguably leading in the Heisman race and David Ash coming off a Davey Oâ€™Brien player of the week award.
â€¢ Oregon â€“ They are putting up god-like numbers. Running back Deâ€™ Anthony Thomas is currently averaging 17.5 yards an attempt and has four TD runs of 30 or more yards. Oregonâ€™s matchup this week, Arizona, has yet to allow a run of more than thirty yards this year. Thomas will have to show that he is worthy of being on the cover of Sports Illustrated, which can be seen here for all Twitter users: https://twitter.com/duckmark/status/248280102054543362/photo/1/large
#20 Notre Dame at #10 Michigan State
Senior Fighting Irish linebacker Manti Teâ€™o was a man on a mission Saturday night, literally. Just a few days prior to the game, Teâ€™o tragically lost both his girlfriend and grandmother. On the field, Teâ€™o showed why he is considered to be the best middle linebacker in all of CFB. He had a team-leading 12 tackles, one for loss, and broke up two pass plays. As a matter of fact, coach Brian Kelly said the game was â€œa signature win.â€ The Irish beat down the Spartans and sophomore quarterback Everett Golson managed the game beautifully. There is absolutely no time for complacency, however, with an upcoming battle with the Michigan Wolverines this week. Denard Robinson poses a unique threat for any defense and is capable of dominating a game at any time.
Notre Dame â€“ A (Letâ€™s see how they do against a battle tested QB)
Michigan State â€“ C (New QB Andrew Maxwell didnâ€™t turn the ball over, but will have to step up his game with Ohio State just a week away)
So there you have it, a brief overview of whatâ€™s going on outside of Big 12 football. Week 4 is a promising week for CFB fan interest, with heavyweight matchups scheduled across the top 25. What game will have your most attention? If youâ€™re like me, your DVR will be your best friend come Saturday.